Water-Scorpion2.JPG (21464 bytes)Water Scorpions: Strange and interesting creatures inhabit dams and ponds in Australia.

One of strangest is the insect illustrated. It is a Water Scorpion (Laccotrepes species). The Water Scorpion is not related to the terrestrial Scorpions. The name probably refers to the similarity in shape.

Water Scorpions are large insects about 30 millimetres long. They carry a tube at the rear that is almost the same length.

They live among the stems of aquatic vegetation or in the mud of dams and ponds. Water Scorpions are carnivorous and prey on other aquatic insects, small fish, frogs and tadpoles. Their strong forelegs are adapted to hold prey in a similar way to the Praying Mantis.

They breathe air and the long rear tube is pushed through the water surface. The tube is hollow and allows the insect to take in oxygen. Water Scorpions are only observed when they come to the surface to breathe.

Water Scorpions come equipped with wings. This allows them to migrate to greener (or perhaps wetter) pastures if their present home dries up.

There is a strange link between Water Scorpions and Ancient Egypt. Serqet was a goddess that was represented as a woman wearing a scorpion-like animal on her head. Her name means one that allows/causes breathing. This ties-in with the way a Water Scorpion breathes. The figure on her head is probably the insect in question. The Ancient Egyptians associated the rear tube of the Water Scorpion with breathing.

The Water Scorpion illustrated was found on the margins of one of our dams.